Tonight, the boys’ school had a community potluck supper. It was planned by the middle school’s newly formed PTO which consists of about a dozen parents and the middle school director. I have to admit that I was both pleasantly surprised by the turnout and amazed by the “community” and how that word resounds a whole lifestyle here.

I guess that my NJ pessimism can still get the best of me. Last week, in discussing the upcoming dinner with another mom, I voiced my concerns that the dinner would most likely be the 12 of us with our families or even worse, a room full of hungry students (since sports awards were scheduled for later that evening) and not enough food. No one seemed to know or care about the dinner and advertising seemed to have little, if any effect.

There were probably about 75 people who attended this dinner. Entire families, most of whom, I have to say that I am happy to call friends or at least, friendly faces. Four large cafeteria tables had to be assembled to hold the feast that appeared, growing larger with each and every family that walked through the door. Amazingly, there were hardly any duplicates in dishes and more than enough to feed the hungry masses that gathered.

What still amazes me here is that these types of events don’t result in pre-bought or disposable anythings. People here bring their crockpots and their casserole dishes. They bring their salads in glass or wooden bowls and their cakes on real plates or trays. They bring their own serving utensils, knives and cake servers. The silverware is real silverware, not plastic. People are not fearful that their property will not be returned to them or broken or stolen. Why? Why would they think  such things?  This is a group of your friends, your neighbors, your children’s classmates and their families. This is a “community” in its most absolute sense of the word and everyone and I do mean everyone pitches in to help – set up, clean up, carry out or do whatever might be necessary. The kids even get into the act. It is fun to watch, fun to participate in and a delicious way to spend an evening.